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The Writer Reveal

black-41201_640Last week I wrote a post asking all of you to vote for your favorite passage from some “mystery” writers.  Thanks to all of you who decided to play.  The votes came in and below are how they ranked, along with the writer and where the passage came from.  If you click on the links below, you can go read more about them (except for one).

Green Dress 31.25% J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Crazy Beautiful 28.13% Brigitte Surette, Short Story in Progress

Gaunt Face 15.63% Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Tan Eels 15.63% Junot Diaz, “Miss Lora,” Short Story from The New Yorker

Chitchat 9% William Landay, Defending Jacob

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 3.26.50 PMYeah, I slipped some of my own writing in there, among the greats, to see how it would fare.  Did surrounding it by all those writerly passages make mine read better?  Or should I just shut up and be happy about it?

I’m surprised that it took second place!  But, I bet if I would’ve taken five other random excerpts from those same writings, then it’d be a whole different ballgame.

You Said It and Voted 

Still, I’m inspired.  Maggie recognized Holden from Catcher in the Rye right away.  Later in the day, so did Sally.  Smak, Le Clown, Sara, Jackie, Diana, Lillian, Sara and Jules picked Holden and his Green Dress.

Grippy, Cathy and Char loved Crazy Beautiful — thanks, ladies and others just didn’t like it.  I appreciate your telling me why you didn’t like it and I mean that.

Audra, Weebs and JM voted for Gaunt Face, Lynne and Mike voted Tan Eels and Addie and Amy liked Chitchat.

(If any of you are reading the Banter for the first time or you’re a new follower, please visit the original post and click on those who commented and liked and visit their blogs — they’re all inspiring and/or funny writers themselves.)

Some of you didn’t reveal your favorite or least favorite.

This is only my 37th edit on this passage...this is going to be the good one, the good one, the good one...

This is only my 37th edit on this passage…this is going to be the good one, the good one, the good one…

Some like descriptive writing while others like a more narrative approach.  It’s balancing the two that most people like, then again there’s Faulkner and Hemingway.  One uses a lot of flowery descriptions, the other likes it short and sweet.

What if I’d placed last?  That’d be okay too because constructive criticism is good, but I may not have felt as good about it.  Those of you who write (for business and creatively) know what I mean.  Writers are (at least this one is) a notoriously insecure bunch.

When you put your words out there, you’re putting yourself out there, exposing your vulnerabilities and hoping that people who read what you write will take something from it, feel something after reading it.  Anything — any emotion — is good.  To me that’s what a good writer does; evokes emotion.

I promise I won’t be that tricky again.  Well, maybe I won’t.

Macro close up of The End in a vintage book.

About Brigitte



57 thoughts on “The Writer Reveal

  1. Now I feel bad 😦 All though it’s not that I really didn’t like the Beautiful one. I think it’s more that I like my characters to have some zits. I do admire the descriptions though, because I’m not very good at them. I tried it yesterday with the DPChallenge where I had to use a lot of descriptive words, It was really hard for me. So yes, we writers are thin skinned. I need more practice on bring descriptions to my writing.

    Posted by JackieP | January 24, 2013, 11:36 am
    • Jackie! Why would you feel badly about expressing your opinion?? That’s what I was inviting everyone to do. I value your opinion because we need that feedback from others who are creative and read. That’s how we learn. I understand what you’re saying. This character does have her flaws but in this brief passage, that’s not revealed. No matter, you like what you like and I’m thankful you took the time to read and comment and have an opinion. I’m very grateful for your insight and your input. ALWAYS.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 11:48 am
  2. YAY!!! I’m so glad I chose yours, Brig!!! It was the only one that really grabbed me. I haven’t read “Catcher in the Rye” since I was 18 so it doesn’t surprise me that I didn’t recognize it. I wonder if the others hadn’t remembered those lines, who they would have chosen? Perhaps yours?
    Well done, it was excellent.
    Lisa 🙂

    Posted by A Gripping Life | January 24, 2013, 11:56 am
    • Hey Lisa, why thank you. I was surprised myself. We all like what we like but I’m flattered you liked my the bestest. ;). Now, I just have to finish it — it was from a dream I had and is really entirely different than what someone might think from just that small passage. Maybe everyone liked the Catcher in the Rye without knowing why. Perhaps it was the subject matter of teenage angst — which most of us experienced on some level.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 12:02 pm
  3. LOVE that you slipped in one of your pieces, Brigitte. Thank you! xoxoM

    Posted by Margarita | January 24, 2013, 11:58 am
  4. Brigitte, that was a wonderful piece of writing you shared. You should be so proud. If I’m not mistaken, it was a toss up for me between the Chitchat and your piece. There wasn’t really rhyme of reason to that either. So, your writing definitely sparked something in me. I think I liked the Chit Chat for the subject. If I can remember correctly it had to with family drama. Am I the only one who liked that one? Fun idea for a post!

    Posted by The Bumble Files | January 24, 2013, 12:05 pm
    • Hi Amy, thank you. Yes, you did mention it was a toss-up. Defending Jacob is a great book if you haven’t read it. It’s one of those extraordinary, painful things happening to “normal,” everyday people and how it affects each. So, you’re right, there is much family drama in it. No, you’re not the only one — Addie liked that one too. Thank you for playing!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 12:08 pm
  5. Wow, Brigitte! I had NO clue that one of those quotations was yours. I didn’t remember the quotes, and had to rush back to the original post, just praying I hadn’t written something like, “Well, four of these quotes are really good, but this one is just awful! I can’t see how anybody…blah, blah, blah. I was glad to see that not only hadn’t I written that, but that I’d liked them all!

    That was a neat trick, but you’d best be careful, I think everybody’s on to you now.

    Posted by Smaktakula | January 24, 2013, 12:23 pm
    • Smak, if you’d written that you thought it sucked, it wouldn’t have mattered. I did it, knowing that it could’ve turned out that way. Glad you liked them all, though and that’s what your wrote. Yeah, I know that maybe I’ll wait a few months and try it again… ;).

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 12:26 pm
  6. that was fun- do it again and I love that yours stood up so well–I read it over and it vividly describes Ms. Beautiful in no uncertain terms – well done my writer friend

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | January 24, 2013, 12:58 pm
  7. I totally missed this. How did I totally miss this?

    Posted by Honie Briggs | January 24, 2013, 1:14 pm
  8. Brigitte,
    Well look at me enjoying Salinger’s work even in anonymity… Thank God I did not stumble on a Stephenie Meyer excerpt, I would have cried and rubbed myself on a Jacob picture until I died from paper cuts.
    Le Clown

    Posted by Le Clown | January 24, 2013, 1:53 pm
  9. Brigitte,
    Le Clown

    Posted by Le Clown | January 24, 2013, 2:09 pm
  10. Sneaky, sneaky, Brigitte! 🙂 That was truly an original and clever way to showcase some of your writing! Of the others, I’ve only read Catcher in the Rye, and obviously I didn’t remember or recognize this snippet from my high school English courses. 😉

    Short clips are fun insights, but they may not represent a writer’s abilities over the course of a full story. So even if you had gotten a number of “negative” reviews for this short bit, those readers might have thought differently if they’d read more of the story.

    Getting feedback is a nerve-wracking experience and hard on the ego. So why is it that so many writer’s (myself included!) are so sensitive to critique?! We should have tougher skins to begin with!

    Posted by jmmcdowell | January 24, 2013, 2:23 pm
    • JM, yes, it was sneaky but I decided to take the plunge anyway and had it turned out differently, I would have had to suck it up. Maybe that’s part of developing that thicker skin. Atlas Shrugged is a heavy, heavy book and I’ve still not read the whole thing. I’d recommend Defending Jacob — not just for the writing, but for the author’s take on a sensitive subject. And that short story by Junot Diaz is written in second person which is very difficult to do (in my opinion anyway). I know you’re right though. Had I selected another passage from my short story and other passages from these others, it would have turned out differently.

      I think it’s a good way for all of us to play with our writing and get feedback. BTW, I made my hubby read, Catcher in the Rye. He thought Holden whined way too much. Thanks, JM.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 2:36 pm
  11. Yay me! I really liked Crazy Beautiful for the imagery and feelings it evoked. Good job, my friend! And it was a fun poll. So glad yours was so close to the top.

    Posted by Cathy Ulrich | January 24, 2013, 3:21 pm
  12. Wow, I guess it’s been a while since I read Catcher in the Rye, because I did not recognize that passage at all. I can’t believe I chose a passage from Ayn Rand as my favorite. But she was a good writer even if I find her deeply strange. I went back and reread all of the snippets again. I liked yours too, B—I loved the kudzu-like hair coiling and the color of pale wheat and browned biscuits. When I first read it I thought, “Such unusual descriptors” and I found them very compelling.

    Posted by Madame Weebles | January 24, 2013, 4:23 pm
    • That’s the passage where Holden has his experience with a prostitute. I’d not read it in awhile either but i do have a copy of it. I’ve not read Atlas Shrugged either. I’ve tried reading it and I always stop at some point — it is deeply strange and definitely not a beach read — ha! Thank you for the compliment, J. I learned from going to some creative classes that one should try to use descriptions that can allow a reader to conjure up their own image in their mind’s eye by comparing physical descriptions to unusual objects. I thought of kudzu as lush, winding and uncontrollable — the uncontrollable part as being part of who she is and the pale wheat and brown biscuits being colors that each of us may perceive as unique — the way we perceive them, if that makes sense. Anyway, thanks for playing along — so appreciated!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 4:35 pm
  13. Nice trick! Is your short story all the way done, and have you sent it somewhere, or are you still working on it? I still liked how your passage sounded when I read it. Good job.

    Posted by char | January 24, 2013, 6:50 pm
  14. How utterly awesome I chose a line from one of my all time Favorite Writers, Junot Diaz.. this was alot of fun. Do it again Miss Brigitte.. Please.. I’ll bring you an apple 🙂

    Posted by free penny press | January 24, 2013, 8:04 pm
    • That IS utterly awesome, Lynne! You must’ve recognized something about the verbiage for you to pick out a few lines out of so many and it turn out to be one of your favorite writers ever.

      Alright, I’ll do this again in the future and I prefer Asian pears or Apple Pears as some call them. Thanks Lynne!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 8:39 pm
  15. this was fun Brigitte and you sneaky devil. I do hope we will get to read more? Don’t tease us with your wonderful words and then cut us off 🙂
    I hope this sparks you to write more of your story 🙂

    Posted by unfetteredbs | January 24, 2013, 8:04 pm
    • It has sparked something! I’m glad it was fun. Sometimes it’s good to spice things up. It simply cannot compare to the brilliance of your “white” composition but Audra, I shall try. 😉

      Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 8:42 pm
      • I think that post might be my last..hard to follow that with anything

        Posted by unfetteredbs | January 24, 2013, 8:49 pm
      • Ah, the plague of an artistic and creative soul — how can I improve on brilliance, nay perfection? Still, you BETTER keep blogging chickie.

        Posted by Brigitte | January 24, 2013, 9:00 pm
  16. Not the first time in life I’ve backed something ending up in last place. I still have my $2 ticket from when I bet on ‘I’m A Loser’ at a horse race in 1984.

    Posted by Addie | January 24, 2013, 8:17 pm
  17. Brigitte, what a genius idea to slip in your own writing! I’m so glad yours came out second AND that it was my second favorite because that just goes to show you have actual talent that people recognize objectively. 🙂
    I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t recognize Holden since I read Catcher in the Rye in high school. Admittedly, I never fell in love with the book like so many others, but still. In any case, that was a fun game and I also hope you share more of your writing with us!

    Posted by lillianccc | January 24, 2013, 9:23 pm
    • Well, I don’t know about genius but I’m glad it was well received! There was just a couple of people who recognized it — I’m like you, I wouldn’t have either. I plan to reveal more at some point. Thanks, Lillian!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 25, 2013, 10:04 am
  18. I hope you make your short story available for us to read!

    Posted by Sandee | January 24, 2013, 10:23 pm
  19. Great list! Especially that Brigitte person…
    I adore Junot Diaz. Amazing stuff – Lynne and I were talking about ‘Oscar Wao’ not too long ago. Fantastic book.

    Posted by mabukach | January 25, 2013, 9:20 am
    • Thanks, Mike for saying that. You didn’t have to but I’m glad you did. If you have a minute, click on the Diaz link — it’s a good short story. Thanks for playing along and now, I’ve got to check out Oscar Wao.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 25, 2013, 10:10 am
  20. How could’ve you placed last?

    Posted by reptilesintheicecream | January 27, 2013, 10:25 pm

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